Friday, September 2, 2016

Immigration, Terrorism, and Crime

A couple stories from Europe.

First up is a report of another Rotherham-style scandal in England: "‘Rotherham-Style’ Abuse Scandal: Police Accused of Failing to Act." This time, the location was Telford, which apparently is the child-sex abuse capital of England. From the article:
Past cases of child sexual exploitation in Telford have linked to the town’s Pakistani community, echoing epidemics of mostly Pakistani men abusing white children around the country. 
Telford has the highest rate of sex crimes against children in the UK, with 15.1 per 10,000 incidents reported in the year to September — a rise of almost 150 per cent.
The article indicates that the gangs would use cars to circle "takeaways and other places frequented by young people and children, who they will then often just approach in the street." They would provide drugs to their putative victims in order to get them addicted. And, yes, according to the article, the men arrested in relation to this latest probe were Pakistani.

Second up is a report out of Denmark that a 25-years old man killed by police in a drug raid was an ISIS sympathizer. The perpetrator apparently shot two police officers and a civilian then fled the scene, but was later shot when police attempted to arrest him early Thursday in a suburban area near Copenhagen's airport. He later died from his wounds. (More news reports here, here, and here). A news site linked to ISIS reported that "[t]he perpetrator of the attack that targeted the police in Copenhagen is a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls to target the countries of the coalition."

While these articles could simply be read as lessons in why it is dangerous to import an alien culture into one's country, there is a bit more than this. These are examples of how Islamic groups or gangs are coming to dominate organized crime in European cities. The Telford scandal isn't just a group of men preying on teens for their own perverse enjoyment, but a group involved in trafficking drugs and controlling prostitution. Similarly, the second article is interesting because the ISIS "sympathizer" was not shot in a terrorist raid, but in a drug raid. (The articles are somewhat vague about the circumstances of the initial encounter with the perpetrator, but it appears to have been in the midst of an operation to raid or drive out drug dealers). While nowhere conclusive, it is nevertheless suggestive that ISIS may be moving into the drug trade in order to finance its operations.

This would not be the first (nor the last) time this has happened. FARC in Columbia, for instance, morphed from being a guerrilla group to a criminal syndicate. And the Taliban, who at one time sought to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan, have become, in the words of The New York Times earlier this year, a drug cartel that has penetrated every stage of the Afghani opium trade. The article goes on to recount:
The new Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, is at the pinnacle of a pyramid of tribal Ishaqzai drug traffickers and has amassed an immense personal fortune, according to United Nations monitors. That drug money changed the entire shape of the Taliban: With it, Mullah Mansour bought off influential dissenters when he claimed the supreme leadership over the summer, according to senior Taliban commanders. 
In some areas of Afghanistan, the Taliban have provided seeds for farmers to grow opium on the insurgents’ behalf, or paid middlemen to purchase opium for them to store while they wait for prices to increase. 
In its most recent monitoring report, the United Nations warned that the Taliban’s deeper drift into the drug business was bad news for the prospect of peace. “This trend has real consequences for peace and security in Afghanistan, as it encourages those within the Taliban movement who have the greatest economic incentives to oppose any meaningful process of reconciliation with the new government,” the authors wrote. 
Some of the change in the nature of the Taliban movement can be attributed to the devastating military campaign to take out its leaders, leaving younger, more radical commanders on the battlefield. With competing conflicts diminishing some of the money from traditional donors in the Persian Gulf, the Taliban have been forced into greater self-reliance, cobbling money together from a variety of sources. Those sources include gem and lumber smuggling, but drug trafficking has become, by far, the Taliban’s most important and steady revenue source.
Or, as the BBC described it in late May 2016, the Taliban has been refashioned into a multi-billion dollar drugs cartel that has resulted in Afghanistan eclipsing the former hub of world opium production, the Golden Triangle. Mullah Mansour was killed in May of this year, but that won't eliminate the drug trade. In fact, the aforementioned BBC article relates that opium poppies are being openly grown in districts firmly under the control of the Afghanistan government.

What I believe we are seeing, or will soon see, is a convergence of international criminal syndicates and terror groups.

No comments:

Post a Comment